By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
There have been and will be a lot of discussions this year, 2023, about the electrification goals and the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act. This bill that was approved in 2022, will provide everyone with some type of energy rebate or tax credit for implementing electrification energy reduction measures. These can be in the form of:
- Energy Star Heat Pump – heating and air conditioning
- Energy Star cook tops
- Heat pump water heaters
- Energy Star doors and windows
- Air seal and insulation
- We provide 100% financing on qualifying HVAC replacement systems
We have already seen a period of cold weather with temperatures lower than normal for our area. This has resulted in utility bills being 20% higher than normal for most customers. The recent extended cold weather period with temperatures dipping below 23⁰F resulted in a lot of frozen water pipes. This and the rolling blackouts caused the inside home temperatures to decrease to upper 50s and lower 60s. This was a direct result of air sealing and inadequate insulation. Air sealing prevents or reduces air infiltration into the home and insulation maintains the internal temperatures.
Air sealing is an activity that is implemented to reduce the amount of outside air that leaks into the building or home. This infiltration must be conditioned (heated, cooled, filtered, and dehumidified) so that the comfort levels inside the home are maintained. The greater the difference between the inside temperature and the outside temperature, the greater the energy usage will be to maintain the home.
The best improvement to reduce energy usage is to limit the infiltration into the home. This is done by applying spray polyurethane foam directly onto the walls and roof deck of the new home or onto the roof deck of an existing home. This will provide air sealing into the ceiling and air penetrations in the attic and provide additional insulation there as well. By closing off the soffit vents and preventing air from entering the attic, the attic will now stay <10⁰F difference from the adjoining floor temperature. If the HVAC ductwork is in the attic, it is now inside a conditioned space and the heat gain factor is reduced.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs by air sealing and insulating. Some examples of air sealing are:
- Caulking or foam around doors and windows
- Sealing leaks into the attic I
- Sealing leaks into the foundation
In new construction, air sealing can reduce air changes per day from 8 to 11 down to 2 to 5 ACD. This reduction in infiltration will reduce the amount of energy required to heat or cool the home. This reduces wasted energy and results in lower and more stable heating and cooling costs.
Spray foam insulation helps keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. When installed correctly, spray foam insulation can deliver comfort and energy savings especially during the hottest and coldest months of the year. Sealing leaks and spray foam insulation can improve the overall comfort of your home and fix many of the common issues:
- Reduce noise from outside the home
- Less pollen, dust, and insects (pests) entering the home
- Better humidity control
- More even temperature distribution throughout the home, reduced hot and cold rooms
- Reduces large temperature changes inside home due to hot summer days (>93⁰F) and very cold winter days (<10⁰F)
- Spray foam has flame suppression added to help promote fire safety
- Spray foam will not shrink or settle
- Can be applied to wood surface as open-cell or metal surface as closed-cell spray foam
If you want to live in a very energy efficient home, make sure it is insulated and air sealed with spray polyurethane foam. If you want to make sure it is done correctly then make sure it is done by Southeast Quality HVAC! The cost to apply the foam is minimal compared to the energy efficiency improvement of the home, and the average return on investment is 8 to 10 years.
Call Southeast Quality HVAC today at 245-232-2077 to get a free quote. We will also design and install your heating and cooling system, ductwork, and gas service to your home.
We are currently hiring HVAC installers and spray foam technicians. Call to set up an interview at our office, which is located at 713 South Clinton Street in Athens.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner